The Fountain of Youth: crazy beauty treatments of past and present

There is a universal obsession to achieve cosmetic perfection and eternal youthfulness, which means that people are willing to try anything. While there are many cosmetic treatments that are widely accepted and embraced, such as braces, there are others that one might consider more “fringe.”

It might seem like beauty treatments are hitting an all-time level of weird, but if it’s any consolation, there have been weird beauty treatments since the beginning of time. These treatments can range from bizarre to downright barbaric.

On the extremely weird side:

  1. In ancient times, the Romans and Greeks who would bathe in freshly harvested crocodile feces.
  2. English women in the Victorian times would ingest tapeworms to take residence inside the body, which they believed would help shed weight.
  3. Married women in Japan would dye their teeth with black enamel. While similar to the sealants that are common today, dying one’s teeth black was thought to prevent tooth decay. This custom has been traced back to prehistoric times when

On the disturbing side:

  1. The creation of the “made-to-order” dimple. Yes, dimples were so highly desired that women would wear a spring-loaded knob on their face that pressed into their cheeks.
  2. One ancient Chinese custom referred to as “foot binding” required girls ages 4–7 to break all of their toes to prevent the feet from growing to normal size, which would improve her chances of getting married, for some reason.

Where there’s a weird beauty trend, you can usually find a celebrity who is at the forefront of it. Don’t get us wrong, we’re thankful that they’re willing to take these risks and report their findings to the public.

Exhibit A: Vampire Facial

Kim K. made this famous with her memorable Instagram selfie in 2013 featuring blood on her face. The procedure requires the patient to have blood drawn from their arm. Plasma is separated from the blood, combined with Restylane or Juvederm, and then injected into the face using multiple acupuncture-sized needles. The process is allegedly supposed to stimulate collagen and remove fine lines and acne scars. Doctors say that Kim’s procedure that was filmed for the Kardashian reality show was in no way the “reality” of the procedure. For one, since they just use plasma mixture for the procedure, Kim’s face should be yellow and not red.

Exhibit B: A Geisha Facial

Also known as the bird poop facial. The facial treatment originated in Japan, and it is making its way westward to high-end salons because of its alleged ability to brighten and heal skin. Most of us would consider our day ruined if we were pooped on by a bird, yet this procedure requires you to smear bird poop on your face, nightingale poop to be exact. The poop is collected from birdcages, sanitized and ground into a fine powder. Why nightingale poop, you ask? This specific feces has a high concentration of nitrogen-rich urea and guanine, an amino acid. These two ingredients are believed to retain moisture so that your skin is hydrated and healthy.

Exhibit C: Apitherapy

Apitherapy uses bee venom to help with myriad skin ailments. Although there is little science to say if the procedure dubbed “natural botox” works, celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton have claimed to use the therapy to achieve flawless skin.

“It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.”–Gwyneth Paltrow on apitherapy

How does apitherapy work? Application of the bee’s venom causes your body to think it was stung, so the body directs blood toward the sting location, which stimulates collagen. Obviously do not go out and try to get bee stings, this could result in anaphylactic shock or stroke.

While we like to think of ourselves as an evolved society, we still do some pretty ridiculous things to achieve eternal youth and beauty. Until the fountain of eternal youth is discovered, we can expect to witness more of these bizarre beauty trends throughout our lifetime. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment at my spa for a lion’s urine hair mask. Ta-ta!